Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research

Applications for SRI due Friday Feb 9!

SMU Faculty: applications for the Summer Research Intensive are due Friday, February 9th.

Faculty members may apply for match funding to support up to 2 undergraduate research assistants for the summer. The students may work up to 30 hours per week and attend weekly symposia and professional development workshops.

Further information is available on our site,

Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning - Entrepreneurship

Introducing Big iDeas Marketplace!

The Office of Engaged Learning invites all SMU-affiliated entrepreneurs to sell their products, demo their apps, share brochures, etc. at the Big iDeas Marketplace on February 9, 2024 from 11am to 1pm.

Big iDeas has held a demo fair featuring past winners each spring. Now we are opening up the fair to the community. If you have a business, no matter the size, and want to participate, please sign up for a table at the Big iDeas Marketplace.

Big iDeas business plan competition February 9 2024. Apply at


Winners of the Big iDeas Business Plan Competition will also be announced at the Marketplace. The Competition is open to all SMU undergrads. Apply here.

Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research Student Academic Engagement & Success

Interview with LectureLogger Founder Jude Lugo

For many students at SMU and across the country, classroom attendance is a battle but also it is the first step to ensure their success in university. Knowing this, SMU has really pushed for different ways to support student retention through the commons system, classrooms, and other support systems. Jude Lugo, a junior majoring in Management with a specialization in Entrepreneurship, has contributed to this goal incredibly through his Big iDeas project LectureLogger – and app that tracks attendance and student wellness for colleges and universities. 

Jude was inspired by his own student experiences and by his peers. He noticed that it was difficult for him to “track [his] own absences and which ones were or were not excused. [He] also became aware that classmates who weren’t held accountable for missing classes were falling behind.” Jude believed that tracking attendance would be a beneficial way to help professor and students by helping “professors and administrators identify students who are at risk and enables them to reach out to avert an academic crisis that could have negative ripple effects on a student’s overall well-being.” 

In order to realize his idea, Jude consulted several professors to understand what kind of product would be helpful for attendance tracking. Jude also worked closely with a contract developer to develop the project. Most importantly, Jude worked with his fellow students to ensure that “the product is easy to use and supportive of student learning.” This background work paid off as a recent survey revealed that 84% of students are more likely to attend classes that utilize LectureLogger! 

LectureLogger has been a remarkable success, but Jude is not just done yet. With three semesters left at SMU, Jude hopes to “make LectureLogger a staple in classrooms at SMU and across the country.” In addition, through Big iDeas Jude has also been able to launch another project called CommerceNavigator, a software that helps online sellers with their bookkeeping. It is evident through his projects that Jude is committed to innovating and addressing the evolving needs of his community. Be sure to look into CommerceNavigator and LectureLogger and check out Poets and Quants to read more about Jude’s work! 


Office of General Education

Audit conducted to identify UC students who are missing general education or graduation requirements

To assist students on the University Curriculum (UC) graduate, the Office of General Education conducted an audit of all UC students who are missing general education or graduation requirements. 

 This audit identified 51 students’ missing requirements.  

 The Office of General Education staff reviewed Degree Progress Reports (DPR) and Transfer Evaluation Reports (TER), if applicable, to see what action was needed to support individual students. 

Melina Padron and Brittaney Wilson sent initial outreach by email in December 2023. They then followed up with text and phone calls to share personalized support on assisting UC students with degree completion.  

The support offered included: guiding students through the petition process, advising on course enrollment, and sharing alternative credit pathways. Additionally, four course overrides for credit were performed on behalf of the students. 

The UC requirements apply to students who matriculated into SMU between Fall 2016 and Spring 2020. The UC’s main coursework components are Foundations, Breadths, and Depths. In addition to seven Proficiencies and Experiences.  


Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention

Enhancing student success: A closer look at SMU’s retention alert system

Ensuring the academic success and well-being of undergraduate students is a priority for SMU, and the Office of Student Success and Retention is taking proactive steps to address potential challenges through its innovative Retention Alert system. Faculty, staff, parents, and families are encouraged to utilize this reporting tool to share information about students who may be considering leaving SMU.

What is a Retention Alert?

The Retention Alert system serves as a valuable tool to identify and support students who may be at risk. This reporting form allows faculty, staff, and concerned individuals to communicate their retention concerns about an SMU undergraduate student. By using this tool, reporting personnel can play a crucial role in initiating timely intervention to support students facing academic or personal challenges.

How does it work?

The process is simple and user-friendly. The Retention Alert reporting form prompts the individual reporting to identify the reason for the alert and provide some details to help the SSR team. This information is then utilized by the SSR team, who will make a deliberate effort to connect with the student. This goal is to offer academic personal support services that can contribute to the student’s overall success and retention here on the Hilltop.

Encouraging Collaboration:

One of the key strengths of the Retention Alert system is its emphasis on collaboration. Faculty, staff, and other stakeholders are encouraged to continue working closely with the identified students even after submitting the alert. This collaborative approach ensures a holistic support system for students, addressing both academic and personal challenges that may hinder their progress.

When in Doubt, Report:

If there’s uncertainty about whether a situation should be reported, individuals are encouraged to err on the side of caution and report their concerns to the Caring Community Connection (CCC) program or call 214-768-4564. This proactive approach ensures that no potential issues are overlooked and appropriate support can be provided.

If you have additional questions or concerns, Contact the Office of Student Success and Retention by emailing or calling 214-768-1231.

Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

Common Curriculum Proficiency & Experience webpages updated to include successfully-petitioned individual activities

The Office of General Education supports students in fulfilling Common Curriculum (CC) Proficiencies and Experiences with tagged courses, pre-approved co-curricular activities, and individual experiences outside the classroom.

Students can view all approved CC-tagged courses via the Course Search page and review all pre-approved co-curricular activities by downloading the linked list of approved CC activities.

The Office of General Education has now made shortlists of individual activities students have completed outside the classroom, which have successfully been petitioned to fulfill their Common Curriculum Graduation Requirements. These shortlists are not meant to be all-inclusive but help students and their advisors determine co-curricular opportunities – students may complete individually – to satisfy these requirements.

Each Proficiency and Experience webpage has these shortlists under the “Proposing, completing, and petitioning an Individual Activity” accordion. For example, Civics and Individual Ethics, students have successfully petitioned individual activities such as:

  • Volunteer with “Feed My Starving Children” program for 15 hours
  • Organ Scholar at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
  • Volunteer with Jubilee Park and Community Center for 15 hours
  • SMU-led trip to Spain, with a civics and institutional field visits
  • Interned in Washington, D.C. with a federal agency
  • Intern for Dallas County Public Defender’s Office

Students are strongly encouraged to submit a pre-approval petition prior to completing an individual activity at The pre-approval petition should include a supporting statement using the provided template on the P&E webpage, that clearly explains how the individual activity will meet the Student Learning Outcome, Supporting Skills, and Experience Criteria for the requested graduation requirement.

Students who completed an Individual Activity before or after matriculation to SMU can submit a P&E Fulfillment Verification petition at after completing the individual activity. Fulfillment Verification petitions should include:

The Office of General Education also encourages Faculty and Staff to propose their programs or organizations to fulfill graduation requirements. If you have any questions about submitting an Experience proposal, please contact Brittaney Wilson More information on Experience Proposals can be found here.

Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies Office of Engaged Learning Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs University Advising Center University Testing Center

Spring updates from the University Testing Center

Welcome back to campus! It’s hard to believe that the University Testing Center (UTC) has completed its first operation phase since opening in August 2022.  We look forward to continuing our specialized testing services for Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS) students needing accommodated testing and our student-athletes needing early or make-up testing due to travel during the competitive season.  Beginning this summer, we’ll expand our services to include standard academic make-up testing, fee-based testing for non-SMU students in the local community, and credit-by-exam testing (CLEP) for some SMU courses.

Testing at the UTC is done by appointment weekdays between 8:30 and 3:30 p.m. with extended hours during final exams.  Appointments must be made at least 48 business hours before classroom testing dates using the UTC Portal at

The UTC Portal’s updated exam submission process allows professors to determine when eligible students can test at the UTC, automatically upload tests by course name and section number, and retrieve completed tests with proctoring documentation. Stop by the UTC in the basement of Clements Hall to tour the facility, meet the staff, and have a one-on-one consultation to make the testing experience easier for you and your students!

Scantron Exam processing at the University Testing Center ends May 10th

The University Testing Center (UTC) scanning and reporting service for exam Scantrons will end after AY 2023-24.  A few faculty members use the service as the migration to Canvas continues, as directed by the Office of the Provost.  This, along with increasing maintenance costs and staffing needs for new testing services at the UTC, was a deciding factor in ending the service.  Official announcements will be sent periodically to faculty users through various channels so they may prepare for alternatives.

Student Academic Engagement & Success

Nomination deadline approaching for Hilltop Excellence Awards

The Hilltop Excellence Awards is SMU’s most prestigious awards ceremony, annually recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of students, faculty, and staff at SMU. Awards include the “M” Award – the highest recognition bestowed upon a Mustang, the Presidential Awards of Excellence – Scholar Athlete, Leader, and Volunteer, and more.

Learn more about each award and submit your nominations at

Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 4, 2024.

Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders

Peer Academic Leaders commence spring programs and services

The Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) within the Office of General Education commence their programs and services for the spring 2024 semester on Monday, January 22.

Peer Leader Training completed their spring refresher on Saturday at the Residence Life and Student Housing Peer Leader Training. Training refreshers included:

  • Problem Solving and Innovative Thinking by Professor Willie Baronet, Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising
  • Rest and Boundaries by Kaleb Loomis, Assistant Chaplain
  • Outside the Box Programming by Kauai Wilson, Peer Academic Leader (pictured)
  • Advanced SMU360 Functions by Bonnie Pickett, Program Specialist
  • Resume and Career Center Resources by Marsha Booker, Assistant Director

Peer Academic Leaders begin offering office hours and 1:1 sessions with students this week. Undergraduate students can book sessions for degree planning, setups for success, and other academic-related topics via Booking.SMU. 

Plus, spring campus-wide and Residential Commons-specific programming will be posted on SMU360. Please encourage students to RSVP or attend.

Office of General Education

Join the Engage Dallas Spring Book Club

The Office of General Education is a partner office to Engage Dallas. Engage Dallas is a place-based community engagement initiative via SMU’s Residential Commons to address community needs focusing on South and West Dallas.

You are invited to join the Engage Dallas Book Club as an opportunity to further the dialogue and learning that our campus and community partners have been having over the last year.Featured Book: Paved a Way by Collin Yarbrough

Meeting Time: Last Friday of each month, February-May, 10:30-12:00 PM

Format: Virtual—via Zoom

The first 20 people to register will receive a copy of the book.

Feel free to share the invite with others in your network!

Sign up here!





Featured Book: Paved a Way by Collin Yarbrough

Meeting Time: Last Friday of each month, February-May, 10:30-12:00 PM

Format: Virtual—via Zoom

The first 20 people to register will receive a copy of the book.

Feel free to share the invite with others in your network!